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Punjab’s agri productivity falls in five years
Jawwad Rizvi

Soil Map of the Punjab.Publication:1978,Publisher:Soil Survey of Pakistan

LAHORE: Agriculture productivity declined from 2007 to 2011 in almost every major and essential crop in Punjab, while it increased in Sindh, Pakistan Agriculture Scientist Association Chairman Jamshad Iqbal Cheema said in a briefing to the Agriculture Journalist Association (AJA) here on Thursday.

While quoting from the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2011-12’s figures, he said that Punjab’s agriculture productivity has registered a downward trend due to the provincial government’s policies. However, the province of Sindh, which has always remained far behind Punjab in agriculture productivity, registered improvement mainly due to government’s nonexistence in agriculture sector. “Sindhi farmers increase agriculture productivity by their own means and no credit goes to the provincial government,” Cheema said. He said that in Punjab area under wheat cultivation increased by

0.20 percent in the last four years, while productivity declined by 9.7 percent and 9.90 percent per acre yield as compared to Sindh where area under cultivation increased by 4.75 percent, production by 13 percent and per acre yield by 8.25 percent.

In view of maize, area under cultivation declined by 0.94 percent in Punjab but the productivity increased by 2.48 percent and per acre yield by 2.48 percent, he added. On the other hand, in Sindh reduction in area under cultivation was by 6.66 percent but productivity increased by 11.11 percent and per acre yield by 17.77 percent.

He further said that area under rice cultivation in Punjab grew by 4.07 percent with enhancement in production by 2.31 percent, but per acre yield declined by 1.76 percent as compared to Sindh where area under cultivation increased by 9.96 percent, production by 12.84 percent and per acre yield by 2.88 percent.

“Another major crop, cotton, witnessed a reduction in area under cultivation by 2.34 percent, production by 11.81 percent and 9.47 percent per acre productivity in Punjab,” he said. “Whereas, Sindh was again in the lead with an increase in area under cultivation by 1.53 percent, in production by 28.57 percent and a 27.04 percent increase in per acre yield.” Similarly, a declining trend was registered in sugarcane in which area under cultivation reduced by 0.94 percent but production increased by 2.48 percent and per acre productivity by 3.42 percent in Punjab due to the use of better and certified seeds. However, in Sindh, area under cultivation increased by 14.49 percent and production by 12.98 percent, but per acre productivity declined by 1.50 percent, he added.

“In Punjab, area under cultivation of gram, lentil, mung, mash, canola and sunflower crops declined by 0.85 percent, 55.60 percent, 17.12 percent, 29.46 percent, 45.79 percent and 16.67 percent, respectively. On the other hand, area under cultivation of gram, lentil, mash, onion and canola crops in Sindh reduced by 46.13 percent, 31.42 percent, 30.76 percent, 9.67 percent and 25.30 percent, respectively,” he said.

He believed that due to the careless attitude towards Punjab agriculture sector, the country faced food security risk. Quoting World Bank’s latest figures, he said that 51 percent people are undernourished or unnourished in Pakistan as compared to five years back when there were only 21 to 22 percent.

“Due to increase in input cost, the per head food cost has increased to Rs3,000 per month,” he said. “Therefore, people were compromising on their meals to manage other day-to-day affairs.”

“The average family size in Pakistan is 5.5 persons, which means a family has to spend Rs16,500 per month to ensure three meals a day. If two persons of a family are working then they earn Rs18,000 per month as per the minimum wage benchmark fixed by the federal government,” he said. “Therefore, if they spent Rs16,500 on food then how can they manage other expenses that includes utilities and transportation expenses.
Curtsey:The News, Mar 8, 2013 







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